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This is an area of major dislike, as it gets into the area of what people "like," and what the dealers are selling. Automotive oils, which are up into the "SM" catagory now, are much better than they used to be. Dealers sell motorcycle oil at a premium, and they need to make a living, so......

 

could we regard that as "objective?"

 

Wheras a little ol' PHD type, who happened to ride a V65 Honda motorcycle, became curious about the same questions. Here's his take on this:

 

http://www.nightrider.com/biketech/oiltest1.htm

 

People are funny; they claim that this or that is "da best," and don't really have a clue other than they're changing oil quite frequently in some cases, so it probably isn't even an issue. It's as though it's a contest to see what's in and popular, with scant real evidence to go by.

 

Which is why the article is a good read.

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Hmmmm... Interesting read.

 

Its entire context was fixated on viscosity and how motorcycle oils were a rip off and priced very high in contrast to automotive oils whose viscosity was as good or better.

 

Granted I can't argue that 'premium' motorcycle oils are expensive, but no more expensive than their automotive equivalents. Also, it making references to 'high rev'ing' engines in cars as it is relative to motorcycles is a reference based on 1994. My old Mitsubishi 3000 GT VR-4 (First Generation) 24-valve performance vehicle redlined at 11K (I think) while my bike redlines at 18K, so that really wasn't of value either.

 

Also, in the entire document there was never any mention of 'clutch' or more so 'wet clutch' brought me to the conclusion was about deceptive marketing and viscosity and really nothing more. :(

 

The document is based on a 16 year old right up and I would have to say really isn't on par to all the things involved in todays machines. ;)

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The document is based on a 16 year old right up and I would have to say really isn't on par to all the things involved in todays machines. wink.gif

 

Or you could conclude that even 16 years ago, oil quality was more than sufficent to protect your engine and that current oils are likely to be better still tongue.gif

 

What I find amazing is that race engines even survived 100 years ago, using iron pistons in iron cylinders and lubricated with a manually operated oil pump and the oil was little more special than olive oil ohmy.gif If we go back 50 years, racing engines typically ran straight oils, often 50 weight. Even long avter multigrade oils were introduced, racing engines used straight oils. Their theory - and for all I know it could correct at first - was that under extreme use, a multi-grade oil would quickly degrade into a thin more or less single grade. Or that it would turn into asphalt when heavily stressed.

 

Interestingly enough, although a 10W50 oil will be as "thin" as a straight 10 weight around 0C* and as "thick" as a straight weight at 100C*, it will flow better below 0C and retain viscosity better above 100C than the straight oils. At least in theory. So a multigrade oil should be able to protect your engine better during cold starts and also better under extreme situations when the oil is very hot.

 

But things are not always as rosy as they may seem at first. A multigrade will - provided we speak of oils of similar basic qualities - be reduced over time and "thin out" so that it will be less and less efficient to protect your engine at high temperatures. This degradation starts to take place the moment you open the oil can and will be accelerated heavily if the oil gets too hot for its design. Also, gearboxes will chew the oil apart, breaking up the polymers that are added to make the oil more elastic and hence withstand higher temps. A 10W50 oil could be a straight 10 weight with added goodies to make it withstand the flow test requirements at 100C. So as the oil degrades, it will get closer and closer to a straight 10 weight.

 

Hence the most important aspect for a good multigrade oil - besides having magificient shear stability (not allowing the oil film to break up and hence allow metal-to-metal contact) is to retain it's viscosity for a long time. It appears that Mobil 1 has always been very good at this, according to a number of tests I've read over the years. In a motorcycle engine, you not only have the oil coping with temperatures, but also shear forces from the gearbox and clutch. For this reason alone, (most) motorcycle engines destroy their oils far more rapidly than engines not sharing their oil with gears.

 

Again, the reason I am not overly concerned with what I put into my engines at my 3-4000 mile intervals and gentle running, is that companies like Honda saw fit to recommend 7,500 mile intervals with 10W40 oils more than 30 years ago. There simply is no realistic chance that my engine's life will be significantly prolonged if I use the very best versus a very ordinary oil. And although it's not a scientific test in any manner whatsoever, I think riding my very old and worn KZ400 for 2 year, mostly short hop (less than 4 miles each way), to and fro work in all sorts of condition from way below freezing to warm days, without any noticeable wear is proof to me that cheap oils will suffice. No, I didn't take the engine apart, but in 5 years and 12,000 miles in total (only used for commuting 2 years) it never even needed a valve adjustment and only once did the cam chain need to be tightened.

 

If I had a costly motorcycle that I used hard, be that for daily short hop commuting or race track (ab)use, I would I have used a high rank 15W40 motorcycle oil. But for my use, which is usually riding 50 miles or more if I go for a ride and 95% of the time in the lower half of the rev range, high cost oils are mostly a waste of money.

 

 

*I'm not sure these are the correct temperatures, but at least it's cold and hot tests wink.gif

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Mobil 1 seems to be consistantly liked!

 

I used Motul exclusively in my '04 CBR1000RR until the bearings failed last year during a track session.

 

Throw out bearing? Friction have to do with it? What blend of Motul?

 

The main bearings then the Cam journal farthest way from the oil supply. I used Motul 5100. I'm not saying that Motul is a bad oil. I am very impressed that the motorcycle lasted as long as it did (5 years).It was my track bike and I rode it alot. I have two motorcycles a Ducati 999R and a CBR1000RR. I needed a synthetic that would meet the needs of both bikes that's why I went with Mobil 1 4T.

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Wow Eirik, you really seem to have a lot of knowledge/experience. I agree with you on even way back when lubrication worked, I'm am totally amazed as you said machines 100 years ago even ran. And heck 'way back when' I had a VW Beetle I swear would run on cooking oil and cheap vodka and keep on going! :lol:

 

But right now I'm totally facinated by the 'internal combustion engine' as silly as it sounds. I've done lots of my own car and bike work over the years, but not the serious stuff. Someone asked me to adjust valves I would likely, panic, read 3,000 pages of service manuals and then panic some more. But after nearing 20 years of writing software, engines and related is refreshingly fun. So thanks for sharing your opinions. B)

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I've done lots of my own car and bike work over the years, but not the serious stuff. Someone asked me to adjust valves I would likely, panic, read 3,000 pages of service manuals and then panic some more. But after nearing 20 years of writing software, engines and related is refreshingly fun.

 

 

It would be the exact opposite for me - except that I do not think of SW as fun wink.gif

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"The document is based on a 16 year old right up and I would have to say really isn't on par to all the things involved in todays machines."

 

You've actually added to my normal reluctance to put forth information that requires people to think.

 

I used to have a landlord with a nice Nissan truck. He insisted on using Castrol 20W50; "it's good for my truck." My response, of course, was to ask him what his owner's manual called for. Nowadays it's usually 5W30 or even 5W20. He's wasting his money, when Wal Mart brand API certified 5W-30 of SM rating would suffice quite well. This stuff actually used to be cheap, but due to speculators driving up oil prices when supply is up and demand actually down, is no longer. The proper viscocity oil may well allow him to get better mileage and have more power than the heavier, not recommended oil, which he is paying a premium for.

 

It is interesting to note that a 16 year old write up may provide knowledge, for those willing to see it. If you're not, so be it. You've bought into the premise that you have to run specific oil due to the wet clutch, therefore you're somewhat stuck. If we assume that car oils have continued to improve and motorcycle oils improved at the same pace, which is preferred?

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You've actually added to my normal reluctance to put forth information that requires people to think.

 

Sorry to hear that.

 

I used to have a landlord with a nice Nissan truck. He insisted on using Castrol 20W50; "it's good for my truck." My response, of course, was to ask him what his owner's manual called for. Nowadays it's usually 5W30 or even 5W20. He's wasting his money, when Wal Mart brand API certified 5W-30 of SM rating would suffice quite well. This stuff actually used to be cheap, but due to speculators driving up oil prices when supply is up and demand actually down, is no longer. The proper viscocity oil may well allow him to get better mileage and have more power than the heavier, not recommended oil, which he is paying a premium for.

 

Not knowing anything about the person, or the truck, is it at all possible that what he was saying is the truck in the least seemed to perform better, longer on the $4.29 a qt Castrol where in the WalMart brand is probably less expensive but that's not what makes him feel good? Granted a 20w50 in a 4-6 cylinder is probably a bit heavy for a vehicle that likely takes a 5w30 for a reason as well as it causing a probable loss in gas milage, so be it. That is life and how people are, there are many things in many ways people are like that. And it's entirely their right and their problem, even if they blow out their engine because the oil pump couldn't take the weight.

 

It is interesting to note that a 16 year old write up may provide knowledge, for those willing to see it. If you're not, so be it. You've bought into the premise that you have to run specific oil due to the wet clutch, therefore you're somewhat stuck.

There most certainly some value in the write up but what I found, for lack of better words annoying about it was its very limited scope, its focus was two dimensional. Acknowledging the viscosity of the two oil 'purposes' were relative or not and big business is taking advantage where it can. In either case not all that much of a shocker, actually kind of obvious.

 

The part making me shack my head was the many other dimensions of cause and effect of oils to an engine (what ever their intended purpose) weren't even mentioned. Making the analysis narrow and somewhat subjective. Even viscosity itself has greater dimensions to it than the article suggested. But never even made mention of volatility, oxidation, wear, foaming, acid neutralization, rust, oh yeah and wet clutch compatiblity. These are ALL factors that when discarded paints an incomplete picture. I mentioned it before but a couple of major oil sponsor companies who charge a pretty healthy price for their product, did not fair well under testing...at all! Well, their viscosity wasn't bad until genuinely stressed.

 

Now add the financial element to all of the above. At least here in the states, they don't sell huge quantities of oil for motorcycles, but they do sell tons for automobiles. So if for any other reason supply and demand of having to produce 'a product' costs them (big business) more so they pass it on. I'm sure I'm paying at least $2 more per quart for the oil I'm using because it's imported. Is it special, hard to say, but my bike is happy. So, it's good enough for me. In anycase, that's business, even in its best light.

 

If we assume that car oils have continued to improve and motorcycle oils improved at the same pace, which is preferred?

 

What ever is appropriate for the intended machinery. If someone wants to put an automotive oil containing friction modifiers in their motorcycle, it is their choice. Hopefully a choice made understanding their clutch might not work so well in the near future, but again it's their choice. I personally take things to the degree of research and evaluation and derive my own findings from the collective results from as many sources as I can find showing continuity. It's the best 'educated guess' method I can come up with and sometimes possibly will not produce the best results. But often it does.

 

Finally, I gather I had offended you. For that I apologize. Was not my intension. B)

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No offense taken; I've enough time on blogs to understand that people will make different choices. On a logical note, you've reinforced my perspective that you're limited by your thinking you have to have a specific oil due to the wet clutch. This would feed nicely into the narrative put forth by those that market oil for motorcycles would have you believe. For me, that would be a problem. Would it not make sense to perhaps market an inferior oil as "motorcycle specific" in order to have the consumer pay a premium for oil that doesn't cost as much to manufacture? Typically, that is the way the world works. It would produce a nice profit in a niche market. Engineers in a perfect world would produce objective information. In the business world, they are paid by the profits from the marketing of the product.

 

When the good professor starting asking questions, no one could really give him a straight answer.

 

I would assume that the Honda had a dry clutch, then? Oh, well. Motorcycles certainly have evolved, thank goodness.

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It would be the exact opposite for me - except that I do not think of SW as fun wink.gif

 

Oh, I still love it. It's the ultimate erector set without having to pick up the pieces. I expect to do it the rest of my life. But I need diversification or I'll go totally WACKO! :wacko:

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Im learning alot about oil in here at the moment, but if your racing or doing track days shouldn't you be regularly dropping your oil, like every 2 or 3 at the longest.

 

So I ask this question does the quality of oil really matter if you are regularly dropping your oil? I myself think it would which is why I choose to use Shell 4T ultra advance.

 

Not sure if this is in line with the thread but just wonderingbiggrin.gif

 

Dylan

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Racing means sitting at high rpm and high loads a lot of the time, and this is bringing oil temperatures up. This again will make it thinner, increasing the risk of oil film shearing. The same will the very high rpm attainable by modern sports engines. Still, the liquid cooling will go a very long way in controlling also oil temperature, so the risk of oil failing when it's fresh, even if it is of the cheap variant, is very slim indeed.

 

I'm curious as to what oils they are using in MotoGP racing this season, now that engines must last for several races. I'm pretty sure they used very, very thin oils before to cut friction as much as possible, because wear wasn't a big issue (overhaul after each race, perhaps 2 or 3 engines used over a weekend). Now, they are likely to use oils that protect better at the cost of a bit extra friction.

 

As to the Shell oils - we have the same oils (at least by name) here, and - just like any other gas station brand type of oil except Mobil 1 - they do not have a good reputation. Generally, they are considered to be overpriced products of very average quality. It's a matter of fact that the big oil companies sell their own oils in bulk to low-priced chains who then sell the very same product for as little as 1/3 the price you have to pay if you want the "right" label.

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Racing means sitting at high rpm and high loads a lot of the time, and this is bringing oil temperatures up. This again will make it thinner, increasing the risk of oil film shearing. The same will the very high rpm attainable by modern sports engines. Still, the liquid cooling will go a very long way in controlling also oil temperature, so the risk of oil failing when it's fresh, even if it is of the cheap variant, is very slim indeed.

 

I'm curious as to what oils they are using in MotoGP racing this season, now that engines must last for several races. I'm pretty sure they used very, very thin oils before to cut friction as much as possible, because wear wasn't a big issue (overhaul after each race, perhaps 2 or 3 engines used over a weekend). Now, they are likely to use oils that protect better at the cost of a bit extra friction.

 

As to the Shell oils - we have the same oils (at least by name) here, and - just like any other gas station brand type of oil except Mobil 1 - they do not have a good reputation. Generally, they are considered to be overpriced products of very average quality. It's a matter of fact that the big oil companies sell their own oils in bulk to low-priced chains who then sell the very same product for as little as 1/3 the price you have to pay if you want the "right" label.

 

Nothing new to my ears here, the harder you ride it the quicker the oil thins. Obviously if your putting around the local streets you will not have to change your oil/fluids as someone screaming around a track.

 

As to Moto GP I would say that they drop their oils after each session so I dont think the oils they use would have changed too much and this would decrease engine wear with more oil changes due to the limited engines.

 

So if we are dropping our oils after every couple of sessions does it really matter what oils your using?

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Nothing new to my ears here,

 

You can hear me unsure.gif

 

 

 

 

tongue.gif

 

So if we are dropping our oils after every couple of sessions does it really matter what oils your using?

 

As I tried to say; probably not. But unless you are willing to put two identical engines to identical harsh tests with different oils, it is impossible to be sure. But if we consider the fact that air cooled engines running oil temperatures easily 50C hotter than what's typical for modern engines survived endurance races 30-40 years ago when metallurgy was far worse as well, I think it is reasonably safe to assume that it will not matter what you run.

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So if we are dropping our oils after every couple of sessions does it really matter what oils your using?

 

As I tried to say; probably not. But unless you are willing to put two identical engines to identical harsh tests with different oils, it is impossible to be sure. But if we consider the fact that air cooled engines running oil temperatures easily 50C hotter than what's typical for modern engines survived endurance races 30-40 years ago when metallurgy was far worse as well, I think it is reasonably safe to assume that it will not matter what you run.

 

Seems all racers I've had conversations with run the high-end synths for the same reasons. Better shifting, engine temps and because they've seen what the engine has looked like during rebuilds pre and post good oil. For what it's worth..

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I personally use a high performance oil with a hi protection oil additive

 

 

 

 

eg

 

ravenol VSI + X1R

 

redline 5w40 +Break in additive 20CC/L

 

300V+ militec

 

 

 

whatevers easy to get and cheap/ leftovers from the next door car nut.

 

 

when the mobil racing 4T is on offer on my area , i'll buy it too.

 

 

 

 

generally i dont trust anything below 1300PPM of ZDDP for long term protection, its good to have a second safety net, but thats just me, im flickling fickle.

 

 

 

 

and oh, Shell ultra 4T dies on me after 90KM, dont ask how i ride em, it just ... overheats and i have to let the motor rest.

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